(Courtesy of prosolve370e.com)
Though initially designed in Germany in 2008, pollution-eating tiles have been used in building projects in Mexico City. These tiles are known as Prosolve 370E, and are made out of plastic coated with titanium dioxide. When this chemical is exposed to pollutants like car exhaust, it’s able to neutralize and store it. If that chemical sounds familiar, it may be because you’ve read it on the list of cleaning and whitening ingredients on your tube of toothpaste (1).
This urban innovation project is helping the sustainable development goals for Mexico City, and other major urban areas that utilize this technology. To be sustainable, a city would set the goal of being carbon-neutral. These smog-eating building materials have incredible potential to advance Mexico City towards its sustainable strides. Air quality for residents of each city will improve dramatically (1).
Sustainable goals are enacted by cities which intend to model their urban metabolism to resemble something that works in nature. In this case, carbon-neutral goals mean the city can store what it emits (2). This is why many urban areas invest in green space on roof tops or in parking lots, as trees help clean the air. The Prosolve tiles will contribute in a similar way; though it has yet to be studied on the large-scale, a rooftop full of these tiles could have an equal or greater effect on air quality as an equal area of vegetation, with no excess energy of pumping water or caring for plants required (3)!
- “Pollution-Eating Tiles.” Popular Science Archive. Popular Science, Oct. 2008. Web. http://www.popsci.com/archive-viewer?id=7TsEAAAAMBAJ&pg=38&query=pollution-eating
- Alexander, Christopher. “A City Is Not a Tree.” 1-22. Web. 17 Apr. 2016. https://us130urbansustainability.files.wordpress.com/2016/01/06-alexander-a-city-is-not-a-tree.pdf
- Berdahl, Paul, and Hashem Akbari. “Evaluation of Titanium Dioxide as a Photocatalyst for Removing Air Pollutants.” Energies Technologies Area. Berkeley Lab, Jan. 2008. Web. <http://eetd.lbl.gov/publications/content/evaluation-titanium-dioxide-photocatalyst-removing-air-pollutants>.